Intellectual Property Rights Are a Lynchpin to Business Success, Not an Add-On
Gary Fergus, Intellectual Property Lawyer
Intellectual property rights should not be an afterthought, but instead an integral part of your business model. The New York Times’ business writer Darren Dahl took a look at this by considering the experiences of Cryptography Research and Visa, Research in Motion and Blackberry and Trident Design (PowerSquid). Each illustrates the importance of establishing clear ownership of a technology or trade name. Also, intellectual properties sometimes require an ardent defense to maximize value.
Intellectual property litigation can go offshore as well, yet different patent systems in other countries can be expensive and unwieldy. Consequently, most companies cannot afford to pursue patent protection everywhere; a good strategy is to identify the countries (e.g., China and Japan) where copycat manufacturing or sale is most likely.
Melding IP considerations with overall business planning has other advantages. Interlopers monitor applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and will sometimes register a URL that the owner of the intellectual property might otherwise use for marketing or other purposes. Dahl’s example is “Upcakes,” the signature product of a New Jersey restaurant: the owner registered that mark but failed to buy the URL—and someone else did, likely after monitoring the trademark bureau’s website where applications are posted for public review.